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Single/Double Spacing (when not specified)

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I'm currently working on my SOPs for eight different departments, and some have more specific instructions than others. When a school tells me they want 300-500 words, I obviously will make sure it is between those two extremes provided, and if another school says the SOP should be less than 1000 words, I will make it less than 1000.

 

However, when guidelines are more vague, is it okay to err on the side of being slightly lengthy? One department to which I'm applying asked for 1-2 pages single spaced, so my SOP will be almost 2 pages (1000 words or a bit less). If other departments ask for a two page SOP without specifying any spacing requirements, does this imply a less-strict enforcement of length? Or should I ensure that the maximum length for these would be two pages, double spaced?

 

If I need to keep it shorter than I'd like, I will probably detail most of my research experience in my CV to save room, though I don't want to (since the SOP is so centrally important).

 

 

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Generally, 1,000 words or less is the standard length of a well written SOP unless otherwise stated in application. I would advise you to always use single space unless otherwise requested as no one wants to really sit and read a 4 page SOP. In most cases you will enter your essays into an online system where the admissions office can format the SOP to print/display the way they want it....single/double spaced. - Admissions Advice Online

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Double spaced writing is for drafts so I would say submit all application materials in single spacing. 

 

For what it's worth, in all my programs (different field than you), you actually upload the PDF so you control how the SOP is formatted.

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Thank you! These answers are very helpful. I hope this doesn't apply to writing sample page length as well, though, regarding single spacing :)

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Thank you! These answers are very helpful. I hope this doesn't apply to writing sample page length as well, though, regarding single spacing :)

 

Everything I've seen says the writing sample is double spaced, but you should carefully read the admissions information on each department's website just to be safe.

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